We demonstrate that the combination of near-field focusing and a switchable oxide layer permits construction of a modulator with different optical switching thresholds in two opposing directions. For that purpose layers are deposited onto spherical micrometer-sized particles. The phase transition in is induced by a nanosecond-pulsed Nd:YAG laser from two different directions. The measured thresholds differ by a factor of 2.4, consistent with calculated differences in the intensities in the two directions.
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